Dawid’s Blog
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Dawid’s Blog

These things have helped me free up tons (90%) of time at work, and I’ve lost nothing.

I often use the Seneca quote “It’s not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it”.

In the corporate world, I believe 90% is waste, noise, distractions and crap.

These ideas have helped me incinerate a lot of the crap. The goal is to say here, I made this”, as often as possible.

  1. Create videos instead of Powerpoint. Powerpoint is possibly the worst communication medium. It’s time consuming, removes the human, emphasis cosmetic presentation over content, and we are all. f*&king. tired. of. it. It’s time you be the person that creates videos.
    This is simple, do it with your iphone and some drawing. Do it for a project handover, a risk briefing, a status report. Send it prior to your actual meeting. Make it short, make it entertaining, make it human. I’m not kidding when I say a 3 minute video with some crude sketches and you explaining something is worth 100 pages of Powerpoint.
  2. Be ruthlessly arrogant with your expectations of meetings. Decline, decline again unless it’s more important than getting real work done. Follow this beautifully crafted work of artistry as your guide.
  3. Carve out at least 3 hours time for Deep Work every day. No phone, no internet (if you can), no email, no loud office (go to the library if you can), no meetings, no interruptions.
  4. Eliminate email as your task list. Check email no more than you go to the bathroom. Change this relationship. Email is communication, not work, and it doesn’t need to perfect. (Inbox Zero is a terrible use of time)
  5. Be known for depth. Let them wait a while, but your response will be complete, concise, and already has several items completed. Realise that even a client in the middle of a disaster will be happy to wait an extra hour if you come back with something more than “yup, on it”.
  6. Simplify. It doesn’t need to all be digital. Use post-it notes, draw, get it out of your head, it’s no good locked away up there.
  7. Work, show, then carry on working. Don’t wait for clear direction, don’t wait for requirements, don’t wait for confirmation. Do what you can, then share, then carry on. Make this a habit. If you have a meeting with a client about ideas for feature X, do some mock ups prior. If you have a meeting to discuss a new opportunity, give homework for people to prep prior. Make this your expectation.
  8. Abort if you don’t have a clear role. A named role. If you’re attending a planning session or a meeting and your name isn’t on the agenda, just simply reply “hi guys, I think you’ve got plenty of people to have this covered, let me know if there’s something I can own here and I’m happy to help”. 95% of the time I get a reply “sure no probs, thanks — we’ll let you know if we need a hand”
  9. Disable voicemail. Slightly more controversial and risky. You have my phone number, which means you can SMS me. If it’s important enough you’ll SMS me. Most never even call a second time, the problems go away.
  10. Remove pipes. This is a huge time suck. You’re preparing something for a client, so you prepare a Powerpoint (or whatever) with a colleague. Then someone from leadership wants to see the Powerpoint, then you need to refine it. Then some other ‘lead’ wants to see it before it goes to the client rep (who is one step away from the actual client). Before you know it, we have 7 people influencing one Powerpoint… with only 1 owner. Delegate ruthlessly, state you only want to deal with X and X. If further changes are required, let them do it.
  11. Disable all notifications on your phone. They are interruptions, not notifications.
  12. It’s time to leave Social Media. You already know you’re addicted. It’s time to move on. You don’t need it.
  13. Don’t be Eddie Everywhere. You don’t have to be on every call, know every development, know every person, attend every social function, attend every “All Hands Call”. Be deliberate with your time. Yes some people will notice it a bit, but we’re doing this for the net benefit.
  14. Be deliberate with your time. When you’re working, work, when you’re accepting calls, accept calls. Don’t let these overlap. Turn your phone off.
  15. Be honest, be real, accept your imperfection. You’re going to miss things, you’re going to mess up, but what you gain is far more time and be the person that says “Here, I made this” more often. That’s what will be rewarded, not shuffling papers.
  16. Exercise every day. You’ll need willpower for all of this. Willpower requires energy. Energy requires health. Health requires exercise… I originally had to drop 50kg/100lbs to do this.

The side effects are — “He’s not that responsive”, “he’s pretty picky on what he takes on”, “he won’t attend a meeting unless there’s an agenda”… as well as “did you see that thing he built”, “did you see that video he made”, “clients love him”, “how do we get him onto this project”.

No regrets.

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